Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.
For a recap of last week’s box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from last weekend, and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our picks matched up.
Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of December 22-24, 2017
This weekend, The Greatest Showman plays in 3,006 theaters, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle debuts in 3,765 locations, Downsizing plays in 2,668 theaters, Father Figures opens in 2,902 theaters, and Pitch Perfect 3 debuts in 3,447 locations.
#1 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Repeating in the top spot should be Star Wars: The Last Jedi (read our review), which posted the second-highest opening weekend of all time last week with $220 million. Though the film has proven to be polarizing for some, the word-of-mouth is still largely positive and Episode VIII is the biggest title playing during the holiday season by a mile. The galaxy far, far away will surely continue to post healthy numbers over Christmas, especially with schools now closed for break. There are plenty of new arrivals this weekend, but none have the clout or fan fare to dethrone the latest Star Wars, so it has another easy road to #1. The only question is how steep the drop-off will be, since tentpoles can be a bit front loaded at times.
#2 – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Coming in a very distant second should be Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (read our review), a followup of sorts to the 1990s family classic that starred Robin Williams. This new adventure boasts and all-star cast including the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are recognizable thanks to their previous movies. Johnson and Hart in particular are big draws, considering they teamed up for the comedy Central Intelligence ($127.4 million) not too long ago. It also had brand recognition, looking to capitalize on the recent nostalgia craze.
Jumanji, even with The Rock, is no match for Star Wars, but there are a few factors that will help it hold its own. For starters, the critical reaction has (arguably surprisingly) been quite positive, with many praising it for its sense of fun and creativity in working with a video game premise. It also could be something of a counter-programming option for those in the mind for some genre entertainment, but are either not interested in the latest Star Wars or waiting for the crowds to die down a bit before seeing it in theaters. Also, if any Last Jedi screenings are sold out, Jumanji sounds like a nice alternative for family movie night, so it should post respectable figures in its opening frame.
#3 – Pitch Perfect 3
Our choice for third is Pitch Perfect 3 (read our review), the third and final installment in this unlikely trilogy. The first movie, which was released in 2012, was a moderate hit at $65 million domestically. When the followup was released a few years ago, it became clear the franchise’s fan base had exponentially expanded. Pitch Perfect 2 brought in $184.2 million (including $69.2 million in its opening weekend), meaning there should be some interest in seeing how this series wraps up. Once again, stars like Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are back for another acapella showdown, and with The Greatest Showman underwhelming in terms of buzz, this should be the musical pick for the holidays.
Pitch Perfect 3 is going to have an uphill climb, however. The reviews have been mostly negative, with many using terms like “unnecessary” to describe it. The premise seems to have been stretched too thin, which will hurt its appeal amongst casual audiences. There’s also significantly more competition for general viewers with Star Wars still strong, so Pitch Perfect has its work cut out for it. Tracking indicates an opening frame of $34 million.
#4 – The Greatest Showman
This week’s other big musical release, The Greatest Showman (read our review), should come in fourth. The film stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, the entrepreneur who put together the world famous circus. Jackman is a bona fide A-lister who gives the movie some headlining power, put his presence likely won’t be enough to save Greatest Showman from floundering. Reviews have been very mixed, appreciating Jackman’s enthusiasm and ambition, but criticizing the story and character development. Additionally, it’s rare for musicals to break out commercially. La La Land was a smashing success, but that was with loads of Oscar buzz that made it a must-see. Greatest Showman, on the other hand, will have to settle for around $14 million.
#5 – Downsizing
Rounding out the top five should be Downsizing (read our review), a high-concept piece of sci-fi satire from Alexander Payne. The director is a recognizable name for cinephiles, but he’s never been the biggest drawn. His 2011 drama The Descendants earned $82.5 million and is his biggest box office hit. Other works, like Sideways ($71.5 million) and About Schmidt ($65 million) posted modest numbers, though far from runaway hits. Downsizing should have some difficulties making a dent over Christmas, considering what it’s going up against and the fact reviews have been mixed-to-positive. Unlike Payne’s earlier films, this one didn’t receive widespread acclaim. Estimates have it pegged for $12 million in its first three days.
Last Week’s Recap
We said Star Wars: The Last Jedi would earn $215 million in its opening weekend.
The Last Jedi earned $220 million in its opening weekend.
Tune in next week for another box office prediction!
Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), Box Office (Opening Weekend Projections)